Friday, October 28, 2011

In El Salvador por fin!

Well all,

I figured it was time for an update. Delena has done a great job posting to our family blog about our adventure here. (www.benjoedelena.com) But I have not taken the time to reach out to everyone. I wanted to let you know we have arrived and are safe. We got here two weeks ago as a family and what an adventure it was. The kids did great on the red eye flights and slept or played games most of the way. The hardest part was getting car seats on and off of the planes. At one point I had two car seats and two backpacks at one time in my arms. We arrived with everything we owned crammed into 8 suitcases each weighing exactly 50 pounds.

As we were flying in, I told Delena something didn't look right about the country. The rivers were flooding and it was raining a lot. Sure enough Hurricane Jova had hit Mexico and the tropical storm was spreading through out the country. It rained our first 10 days here and many people lost their homes. It was similar to the tragedy of the 2001 earthquake I experienced here. The country is now dry again and people are rebuilding but it was tough.

Our Call Center is up and running and we are hiring agents everyday. I can't believe we went from a small office building next to Walmart in El Salvador to a fully functional call center in 4 months. We have been very blessed with success and are beating the other centers with our numbers. Most of all it has been great to get to know so many wonderful people and know we are helping them with work. Right now I have 25 employees, we are hiring 70 more by December. At year end we should be at 90 to 100 agents. We take financial services calls right now (ironic) and are expanding into some more customer service and sales calls soon.

We miss so many things about the states, but are loving our time here. At church on Sunday a group of expat women huddled around Delena and became her new best friends. With in minutes she felt at home again, though never the same as we felt on Raymond Ave. Our ward is the temple ward, so we go to church next to the El Salvador temple. We have all of the temple workers and embassy families that attend with us. This gives us all lots of chances to speak spanish and english.

Our kids are happy and enjoying this new world, already they are picking up some spanish. Delena starts here spanish lessons on Saturday and soon will be fluent as well. We have adopted a Turtle called Mr. Turtle or Senior Tortuga to keep us company. Overall things a well and we are getting settled...

Love you all and talk to you soon.

BenJoe

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just one more hour!

   The sun comes up really early here and its throwing off the Markland boys sleep groove.  When life was normal these boys slept from 7pm to 7am.
   The sun starts to shine and the horns start to honk here at about 5:15am.  And the last few mornings the boys have been awake and hungry at 5:40am (it doesn't help that Ben leaves for work @ 5:30am) When we are struggling to get in bed by 8:00pm  this means lots and lots of emotional breakdowns through the day.  I tried the whole, go back to bed its too early thing, but the clock means nothing to them.  I can't argue with their logic.  So my new plan is a 6:00pm bedtime!  Don't laugh at me, the emotional breakdowns come from me as well.  I need more sleep!
   Come on Super Moms, I know you take kids to various lessons until late evening and then  dinner and then bed.  And then have to get up early  to get everyone off to school and work and such.  How is this possible?

 "If only I had slept one more hour!"
 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Instant friends!

    We attended our new ward for the first time this Sunday.  It was the day of the primary program and it was beautiful!  Yes it was all in Spanish but I quickly learned that about half the ward is bilingual, we live in the same area as the American embassy so there are actually like 10 or so North American family's living in the ward including the couple Missionary's who are serving in the Temple.
    Joseph's primary was in both English and Spanish so he had a lot of fun!  And Dallin did not seriously injure himself or any of the other children in nursery so that is always a good day.  
    I was impressed that all the English children spoke their parts in Spanish, so cool!  Everyone was so friendly and I was very impressed with Sunday school and relief society, nobody falls asleep in these classes because they don't wait for you to volunteer they just call on you.  Also, I introduced myself in Spanish! Go Me!  
    On Monday the Americans were having a brunch that they invited me to attend (so dang nice!)  A wonderful experience!  These are some pretty amazing women!   Great examples of what the Gospel is all about, they all know exactly what I'm going through and had some great advice for me!  They just knew what I needed and have been so incredibly kind!!   One of the girls just flat out said "we are your new best friends" and gave me her number.  Would I do that for someone else?  I will now! because it was an answer to my prayers.  New country or new neighborhood we all need People like this in our lives!

   Most of the Embassy workers Family's move country's every 2-5 years!!  These women amaze me, I didn't hear one person complain about being here, all have 4 or more children are very friendly and thoughtful, and they even drive here! (yeah I'm way out of my league!)  This is the 3rd 4th and 5th mission for these missionary's!  


  We also put together hygiene kits for the flood victims at this brunch.  The woman on the left is Lisa and she was kind enough to drive me and Kiddos around yesterday.  She is one tough cookie her husbands Job has taken her all over the world.  I am excited to get to know her, and all of them.  Who knew there were so many of us Latter Day Saint gringos in little El Salvador?




     

We adopted!

  We are pleased to announce that we have adopted!   It's a boy! (we think) And we named him drumroll.... MR. Turtle!
And believe it or not we racked our brains to come up with that name.  You would think we would get something more exciting and tropical like a Monkey or Iguana right?  Nope! We love Mr. Turtle! 



I am actually the one who wanted him, look at his cute little face! How could I resist? He is the only one who  doesn't argue with me, I love him!  


Friday, October 21, 2011

"But I wuv my pig mommy"

     Grandma Markland's parting gift to Dallin was a stuffed pig from the angry birds game.  He has carried it everywhere and had it in his hand while playing on the balcony.  Well, he dropped it, and it landed on the balcony below us.  He was very upset!  I told him he would have to wait until Daddy gets home to go down and ask for it because Mama no hablo Espanol.    "I wuv my pig Mommy"  "I miss my pig Mommy"  over and over again!  
     Ben gets home and I tell him what happened and he says "this will be good for you to go practice some Spanish and meet the neighbors."  Here is the problem with that, when they talk back I freeze because they sound nothing like Maria from my Spanish lessons.  I begged him to go with me, but he didn't budge.  So I  wrote a script of things I would need to say, some things that they might say back so I would be prepared.  practiced everything!  The Maid answered the door and all I said was Buenos (because here you don't really say hola until you know them better) I hadn't prepared for this scenario so I just smiled and tried to remember something I could say.  Now I was flustered and when the next woman came to the door I seriously had to look at my notes. Lame!!  Anyway the nice Lady interrupted my valiant efforts to speak to her and said "It's OK I speak English"  I almost kissed her! 
    I now have a heart for all the people I have met in my life who do not speak English.  Wow It's tough being the minority! I haven't been this insecure since middle school.  I CAN do this!  It's only gonna get more intense.

Reunited with his pig! 
 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Redeye

We made it! We are finally here in El Salvador ready for our adventure!
     The plane ride went much better than expected. I packed weighed and re packed suitcases for 3days to get the right weight (50lbs). But Ben still had to get pretty creative at the airport and rearranged suitcases like a pro. All our bags weighed in at exactly 50lbs we had all sizes of bags too. Whew! Now I could calm down. (a little.)
     The plane left SLC @ 1:00 am and arrived in E.S. @ 11:30am .  This sounded like a cryfest waiting to happen to me. But the boys did great!  They were fast asleep during the waiting period at the airport and that was nice.  We got lucky in our seating arrangements and the kids were able to have plenty of room to spread out and slept the whole first flight (3hrs).  Side note about car-seats on planes, We brought both the boys a seat,  Joseph's was a no go because its just a booster with a back and he was more comfortable in the plane seat. Dallin's however was a lifesaver it tilted back in the seat perfectly and  he slept in it for a long time when he got uncomfortable in it, I just held him on my lap. Which worked, but, I am glad I didn't have to hold him the whole time.  We had a 21/2hr layover in Atlanta and then the kids were awake for  the second flight.  But It was only 31/2 hours so between the Ipad,  Iphone, the leapster, and food it was pretty good.  The kids were cranky the rest of the day but we survived!  Good kids! 
    We flew Delta and had a great experience, the planes were nice and the Stewardesses were nicer!  One of them even gave Joseph one of the pilots doughnuts! I love that they provided blankets!  No lost luggage no complaints about car seats. Thanks Delta!
     Advice for anyone Flying abroad: don't buy the biggest suitcase you can find!  People tried to tell me but I still thought I needed big suitcases.  Maybe one big one if you are bringing pillows and blankets but they hit the weight limit really fast and so you end up not being able pack them tight and then things are loose. Clothes are surprisingly heavy!!  Get 20" instead of the 30" and use space bags!
   



How to get you kids to wait patiently.




Home sweet home!  Its like 5:00pm and we are soooo... putting the kiddos to bed soon. 
And we get to sleep in a bed tonight hooray!  






Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Because I want to remember

   This post is a review of some things in the past six months,  because I couldn't write in the moment I was too wrapped up in it.  I think its important for me to remember these times because I have (reluctantly) learned a lot!

    Moving is pretty much the hardest thing I have ever done!! I had no idea how much concentration and undivided attention you need to accomplish this monster task!  I had 3 months to pack, sell or store, 5 years and 2 kids worth of stuff!    I loved my "stuff" and selling of my precious piles tore my heart out!  Thus, lesson #1 its just "stuff".  I only miss a few things and can't even remember most of it.  Around this time my Aunts house burned down and I just kept thinking of her and how she did not get to wrap her her precious things and gently store what she wanted to keep.  Selling things we had just bought didn't seem so bad.   And now we are down to just 5 suitcases!  Wow!


 Then there was the flood! I had started the washing machine and left the kidletts downstairs playing while I had a meeting upstairs.  "Somehow" (Dallin...) the hose came out of the washing machine and filled the basement like a swimming pool for 2 1/2 hours!   What a mess!  lesson # 2 ask for help!! My sweet friend who I was meeting with helped us bring wet toys and other possessions upstairs very quickly!  I had told her  she could just go home home, but was so thankful for her help!  Then my ever helpful in-laws came and helped us suck up water for hours before we realized that this was not even making a dent and we called in the experts and filed and insurance claim.  They cut part of the walls out and  had a lot red tape to get through so sending the kiddos downstairs to play while I packed was no longer an option. And I was doing hair in the kitchen again.  At least everything from the basement was now confined to the living room where I  could sort through it??  I had to ask for help with the kids so much that Joseph begged me to stay home and Dallin begged to leave.  I am thankful for wonderful people who helped out during this time you know who you are and you are an example to me!  Thank you!
    Lesson #3 sometimes you just have to leave a mess and get some sleep!  Ok, so maybe this one is a work in progress.  But I have been forced to see how bad it can get and now I know the difference between something that can wait and something that needs to be done now!  When push comes to shove it gets done even if its not perfect it will be ok.

 Lesson # 4 don't worry be happy! My mom has been trying to teach me this my whole life! And once again I'm a work in progress.  But after we were totally ready to go... we were delayed!  And once again Joe and Rayma to the rescue!  We had already rented our house but the company wanted Ben to stay and do some work in the states.  So we moved in with them.  I was so worried about the kids in the newly finished basement.  And you know what?  They drew on the walls, peed, on the carpet, threw rocks, and broke something on the golf cart.  All the things I worried about happened!  And we have not been disowned! most things were corrected and the world is still spinning.
   Lesson # 5 Good things come to those who wait.  And in 3 months of waiting good things have come, I think we will always cherish this time with them! The boys have enjoyed some very special time with their grandparents. I have had ample time to slow down and even read a few books, study Spanish and watch 3 seasons of Star Trek which is a dream come true for Ben. (And he loves me even more for it!)  We had "Markland Cupcake Wars" which was a blast!  I have learned lots homemaking techniques from Rayma And hopefully I will no longer make Chewy chicken!  Ben is really enjoying his job.  He is getting to use his talents to the MAX and loves the challenge of it all!  He is amazing!  And Focus is so excited to have him on their team.




   Lesson #6 Friends are worth the time investment.  This one surprised me, I have always been a social person.  Being somewhere temporarily, sadly, I have not reached out to make friends here and I miss my Raymond friends so much!  I'm so glad we would go running together in the mornings.  I can see us outside with the kids all playing and riding bikes while the moms talk laugh and sometimes cry.  Now I wish I would have made more time for that. I'm glad I was involved in playgroup (thanks Sabrina!) Now I know that that was the season of my life to do those things and sometimes I was reluctant! Because I was too busy? Really?  I'm so glad we did a Joyschool group!  We had a great group and I felt very close to those amazing mothers!  I miss all my hair clients, I always knew I loved doing hair but now I know why.  Its the people!  I love having that personal relationship that comes when they trust me to make them look and feel great!  And lets be honest, we tell each other things in that chair we never would normally!!





Lesson #7  God knows ME and who I can become!  Early on in the decision making process there was a day when I got really scared of the idea of moving to a Foreign country and I started to shake and was overcome with emotion.  I knelt down to say a prayer, and I had the most peaceful feeling come over me and I felt calm from my toes to my head. I know the Holy Ghost comforted me that day.  I have sometimes had doubts about this whole thing because of all the changes and uncertainty but as I was reading in my scriptures the other day I came across these words "Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?" D&C6:23   And once again I was at peace.  I am so glad to know that my Heavenly Father knows what I'm going through!  And even when this world is so big and I feel so small in comparison  he takes the time to comfort me and guide me, if I take the time to be comforted and guided.  I want to be the woman he sees in me, because apparently she is much stronger than I am now.  


   There is so much more I want to remember but now its time to get back to weighing suitcases and tying up loose ends.  I'm thankful for such a rich life and rich memories!